Nervous Bride

Kristine Hayes

Kristine Hayes Nibler recently retired. She and her husband reside in Arizona. She enjoys spending her time reading, writing and training their four dogs.

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Nervous Bride

Kristine Hayes  |  Aug 5, 2019

WHEN I MARRIED for the first time, I didn’t think much about it. I was in my 20s. My new husband (and future ex-husband) and I had already been living together for nearly a decade. Neither of us had any items of real value, so the financial implications of joining our lives meant very little. Marriage, it seemed, was just the obvious next step in our relationship.
When I married for the second time,

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Prime of Life

Kristine Hayes  |  Jun 18, 2019

I WAS 51 YEARS OLD when I ate prime rib for the first time. As it turned out, it was a life-changing moment. It might be difficult to believe eating a choice cut of beef could lead to an altered understanding of financial priorities, but it did.
I grew up in a fairly typical 1970s middle class family. Hamburger Helper, tuna casserole and peanut butter sandwiches made up the bulk of my diet. Our family rarely ate out and,

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School’s Out

Kristine Hayes  |  May 31, 2019

THIS TIME OF YEAR, nightly news shows often feature a montage of clips from various commencement and graduation speeches. The speakers, mostly well-known business people, politicians and celebrities, dish out anecdotes and inspirational words to hordes of newly minted college graduates.
If I were ever invited to speak at a commencement, I’d offer a more commonsense approach, sharing some of the insights I’ve gained from working in higher education for more than two decades.

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Six Years Later

Kristine Hayes  |  May 3, 2019

I FIRST BEGAN tracking my net worth in 2013. Back then, I was newly divorced, in my mid-40s and struggling to figure out what my financial future would look like. I painstakingly logged into my various bank, retirement and investment accounts, and entered their values into an Excel spreadsheet.
As a result of my divorce, I’d lost 50% of my state pension. I did, however, receive half the equity from the sale of our home.

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State of Change

Kristine Hayes  |  Mar 8, 2019

I’VE LIVED IN OREGON most of my life. When I was growing up, agriculture, logging and fishing were the state’s dominant industries. In the 1970s and 1980s, the economy began transitioning from one based on natural resources to one rooted in technology, travel and manufacturing. A few decades ago, companies like Weyerhaeuser and Georgia-Pacific were among the state’s leading employers. These days, Intel is the largest, keeping more than 20,000 Oregonians gainfully employed.
But it isn’t just Oregon’s private sector that’s seen plenty of change.

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A Better Trade?

Kristine Hayes  |  Feb 8, 2019

FOR MORE THAN 20 years, I’ve been the biology department manager at a small, liberal arts college located in the Pacific Northwest. My job is unique because I interact, on a daily basis, not only with students, staff and faculty at the college, but also with various building maintenance personnel, sales reps and instrument-repair folks who are critical to the successful operation of the department.
For me, it’s an interesting study in contrast.

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Heading Home (V)

Kristine Hayes  |  Dec 11, 2018

WITH MY OFFER of $375,000 accepted, I was faced with coming up with $80,000 to cover my 20% down payment and other closing costs. I had additional expenses as well: There was a home inspection, radon test and sewer assessment that all had to be paid for. And because I’d be breaking the lease on my apartment, I would also need an additional $1,800 for that.
Coming up with the first $50,000 was easy.

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Heading Home (IV)

Kristine Hayes   |  Nov 19, 2018

DURING THE FIRST three weeks of house hunting, I looked at a dozen different properties. None met all the criteria I’d set for my “ideal” home, but a couple came close. My price point of $380,000 limited me to looking at smaller, starter-type homes. The competition for those houses was often fierce. On at least three occasions, a home I wanted to view would appear as a “new listing” one day and be marked as “pending sale” the next.

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Heading Home (III)

Kristine Hayes  |  Oct 23, 2018

WHAT SORT OF HOUSE should I buy? My first consideration was budget. While I’d been preapproved for a $403,000 loan, I knew I wasn’t going to borrow that much. Doing so would mean spending well over half my net income on my mortgage. Instead, I figured out how much cash I had for a down payment—$80,000—and then decided to take out a loan of not more than $300,000. That way, I’d be making a 20% down payment and could avoid buying private mortgage insurance.

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Heading Home (II)

Kristine Hayes  |  Oct 4, 2018

WHEN I FINALLY MADE the decision to apply for a mortgage, time was of the essence. Mortgage rates were rising daily and I wanted to lock in a reasonable rate as quickly as I could.
Luckily, I’m one of those people who pride themselves on being well-organized. The loan officer at my credit union sent me a lengthy list of financial documents I would need to provide before she could begin processing my loan application.

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Heading Home (I)

Kristine Hayes  |  Sep 21, 2018

JUST A FEW MONTHS ago, I wrote about my housing plans. Those plans included waiting until I was closer to retirement age before purchasing a home. Having spent the past five years as a renter, I assumed I’d keep renting until I was ready to leave fulltime work behind.
Living in a relatively inexpensive apartment complex came with a few benefits. It allowed me to invest a large part of my income in various retirement accounts.

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By the Numbers

Kristine Hayes  |  Jul 24, 2018

AROUND THE TIME of my birthday each year, I request a copy of my Social Security Statement. This year, as l reviewed my report, I realized many life stories lie behind the numbers that appear in my earnings record.
The first year I had taxable earnings was 1985, the year I graduated high school. Minimum wage was $3.35 an hour and my annual income that year was $861. My earnings over the following seven years were meager,

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Happy Ending

Kristine Hayes  |  Jun 21, 2018

AS I CHILD, I remember reading a series of “choose your own ending” adventure books. These novels allowed the reader, at different junctures, to choose how they wanted the main character in the book to proceed. I always enjoyed rereading these books, creating a different story each time I progressed through the pages.
At this point in my life, I’m beginning to feel like my eventual retirement is a bit of a “choose your own ending” adventure.

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Material Girl

Kristine Hayes  |  Jun 14, 2018

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS ago, I found myself quite unexpectedly spending a night in Reno, Nevada. Gambling was the obvious form of evening entertainment, but money was tight back then. A friend convinced me to splurge and spend $20 playing a slot machine. My measly 25- and 50-cent wagers kept me entertained for nearly an hour, but when I was down to my last few quarters, I bet them all on one final play.
The machine immediately lit up with a colorful array of flashing lights and I waited patiently for my winnings to start spilling out.

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Homeward Bound

Kristine Hayes  |  Jun 3, 2018

WHEN I GOT DIVORCED, I went from living in a 3,000-square-foot house to a 700-square-foot apartment. For 20 years, I’d been a homeowner. I’d dealt with the drudgery of yardwork, the financial pain of a city-mandated “sewer upgrade” and a never-ending stream of issues with broken appliances, furnaces and hot water heaters.
For the past five years, I’ve been a renter. I’ve dealt with noisy neighbors, steep rent increases and the inevitable boredom that comes with living somewhere where you can’t paint the walls,

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